Being pro-Israel doesn’t mean I hate Palestinians or believe that they do not deserve human rights. Debunking false narratives and speaking the truth doesn’t mean I don’t believe that Palestinians have the right to live in safety and security alongside my Jewish friends either. I am just not gullible and I don’t like liars.
If the language I sometimes use is strong, it is because I believe in being truthful and more importantly, making certain people understand the truth. The simple truth is that Jews are from Judeah and Arabs are from Arabia. Full stop. Nobody is saying Arabs can’t live in Israel (well nobody outside the insane far right who are a tiny minority).
It’s important to note that recently while I was in Montreal, some students who are at the far end of the lefty asshat spectrum, attacked me for saying “If you support BDS and attend Israel apartheid week events, you are not a Zionist.” They said I was “policing other people’s Zionism” I maintain that I was correct and that if you believe in the right of Jewish people to a homeland on their ancestral lands, you do not attempt to de-legitimize that right. A friend of mine wrote “If I want to be a vegan is it OK if I eat a steak every now and then?” It really is that simple; what is not simple is explaining how advocating for Palestinians rights can mesh with my beliefs. We are able to reconcile being pro-Israel with human rights because Zionism is at its core and indigenous rights movement that is incredibly pro human rights.
Palestinians have what are called “rights of longstanding presence.” To me this means as long as they are willing to live in peace and not attempt to force their beliefs or lifestyles on others they have the right to live in Israel. What they do not have is the right to force their beliefs or try to impose them on Jews and non Jews. They are not the colonizer anymore; now they have been deposed as rulers. If they want to live in peace, they can, but it’s an adjustment to go from being the boss to being a peer. They need to learn that.
The issue is simple: until the Palestinians demonstrate that not only are they willing to end terrorism and violence against Jews, but they are willing to live in peace, there is simply no chance of a solution that is viable. You cannot expect Israel to give everything the Arabs ask for, without receiving anything in return, but more importantly, without some sort of guarantee of peace. The rest is just dust in the wind. How can Israelis trust people who hand out candy when three teenagers are murdered? Would you? Is anyone surprised that Netanyahu (a political genius by the way) played on that desire for security and got re-elected? It shows us that Israelis are not stupid, that while they want peace, they do not want it at any cost, not at the cost of the world’s only indigenous state.
Being pro-Palestinian for a real pro-Palestinian means speaking up about how Palestinians are treated in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. It means actually caring when people are tortured and killed and not using death as a propaganda tool. The sad truth is the vast majority of so called “pro-Palestinians” just use this as a veil for their Jew hatred. It is easy to see through these people. Just scratch one and you will hear all about how everything is the fault of the “Jooos” (the sneaky ones substitute “Zionists” for “Jews” but Ali Abunimah got busted telling people to do that, so now we know its just code). What’s funny is most Israelis I know are actually pro-Palestinian just out of self preservation. They want those people to be happy and prosperous because then they will stop trying to kill them.
We need more people to start using their brains. If there was a Palestinian state declared tomorrow, do you honestly believe the PEOPLE in “Palestine” would gain anything? Has the PA ever done anything that suggest competent governance? Do you think Hamas has? If they were to be GIVEN a State without being held to some accountability, we would be looking at a corrupt inept state for decades, with no chance at representative government, and damn sure no chance of real peace without violence. This is fact not opinion. Fact based on careful analysis of previous situations like this one.
There is hope. There are now Palestinans who are speaking up and while they may not be “Pro-Israel,” they are not ANTI Israel which until now has been the truth behind this pro-Palestinian movement. By speaking up they risk a lot of persecution and even murder. The thing is, without them speaking up, I would assume that Palestinians are OK with Hamas and Fatah speaking for them, OK with the rife corruption that is endemic in the Palestinian government and OK with trying to kill Jews constantly.
I believe that Palestinians will eventually find a leader who doesn’t want to perpetuate the conflict to fatten his own wallet with the skimming of aid money. Just because it hasn’t happened yet doesn’t mean we cannot hope. But my support of the PEOPLE in Palestine is based on what I think is best for them long term and I believe that they will need to be part of Israel eventually, but must show that they belong and they understand they belong before that can even be discussed.
Israel is a singular place, a place where people are allowed to worship God as they see fit, where women are respected and where gay rights are not just words but actions. It is the only true democracy in the Middle East and most importantly the people have demonstrated their moral clarity on several occasions. That alone should be enough for us to be very careful about lecturing Israelis on doing what we want them to do. Most of them understand that what’s best for the Arabs in Judeah and Samaria will also be what’s best for Israel and that’s not just giving it up but building it up, making it into a thriving region that is part of a vibrant and peaceful nation. Most Arabs seem to want that, at least the ones not living outside of those borders who just want to see dead Jews.